Vacations and Reflections: Part II

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Settling back into the reality of life when returning from holidays is always difficult. With piles of washing, loads of mail to open, bills to pay and everyday routines to fall back into, it can be overwhelming. But after a day or so you find yourself slipping back into life as you knew it before and holidays become a distant memory.

But this time the overwhelm has been, well, overwhelming.

Something is bugging me and the nagging feeling that change is needed.

You see, my first thoughts as I walked into my house after a month away was “I didn’t miss this.” Not home, I did miss home, but I didn’t miss all the stuff in my home.

We had lived in motorhomes and hotel rooms. The only possessions were the ones we carried in our suitcases, and then they were just the basic needs – clothes and money. That was it.

Each day was spent exploring new surroundings. Soaking up the diversity of life, beautiful and not so beautiful countryside and cities and human beings. Not once did I want for anything.

Then arriving home, I felt overwhelmed by stuff. Normal stuff. Furniture, excess clothes, cushions, trinkets, decor. It’s not that I don’t like my home, I love my home. It’s nice and feels like home. But it’s the stuff.  All I could think is “What is all this stuff I don’t need?”

Now I am not a big purchaser of things or a hoarder either. In fact compared to the average person, I don’t have  a lot of ‘stuff’. I’m the type of person who Spring cleans and culls at the change of each season, not only Spring!

It’s just that the stuff I do have doesn’t bring me happiness.

It may satisfy me in some way, or make me feel a certain way, but it doesn’t make me experience prolonged happiness.

I discovered my forever happy, over the past month.

It was in what I had close to me on holidays. Family, food, my writing and the world. It is that simple. It’s not sustainable, (something to do with my credit card having a limit, who’d have thought?), but it is really, really simple.

Our lives are filled with so much stuff these days. Every minute of our day is bombarded with messages of things we need to make us happy. Things to make us feel important, or feel a certain status. Things that only fulfill deep psychological fears that we will never admit to anyone, let alone ourselves.

How much of it ends up in cupboards hidden away so not to remind us we thought we needed it, and then realised we probably didn’t, but should keep it just in case?

Now, before I go on, let me say the irony of my thoughts is not lost on me.

Consumerism is a way of life. It is necessary. It creates jobs and livelihoods for people around the world. It allows me the indulgence of overseas travel and to be able to experience the world, and be a tourist. A tourist dollar. I get that.

I guess what I’m saying, is that I’ve realised the stuff we fill our homes with isn’t important.

So I’m going to make some changes.

I’m ridding myself of all the stuff that surrounds me that I don’t need. Stuff that is taking up space in cupboards and collecting dust on shelves. I’m going to be aware of what I spend my money on. I’m going to ask myself if I need it, before I buy, and why I need it. I’m going to ask what need is it filling? A psychological need or a physical need?

I’m going to be more mindful of what makes my heart sing. And that is family, food, a comfortable roof over my head, and writing. That’s all I need in my life each and every day. Not the stuff.

And I’m going to work hard, enjoy life in it’s most simplest form. And save like hell to get out there and explore the world again soon.

 

 

How do you feel about stuff? Are you a hoarder?
Do you fall prey to the out of control consumerism that is our lives these days?

Do you think I overused the word ‘stuff’ in this post?